On February 16, 2022, the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors all agreed on one thing: it was time to do rural energy differently. The board of this Durango, Colorado-based rural energy cooperative unanimously passed a resolution allowing LPEA to negotiate and finalize contracts that would enable them to source half their energy from locally generated renewables.

“This is a breakthrough partnership that delivers substantially greener energy at lower costs while ensuring the reliability our members expect,” said John Witchel, Board President. “I hope that other rural electric co-ops around the country will follow our lead to a more sustainable and resilient future.”

In Colorado and beyond, renewable energy has powerful transformative potential for rural communities. Here’s a closer look at rural energy and how renewable energy and rural development can go hand in hand.

The Rural Energy Challenge

Rural areas face unique energy challenges. Their geographical remoteness, coupled with a lack of infrastructure, often makes energy access costly and unreliable. This situation impedes both economic and social development, affecting livelihoods, business operations, and essential services.

In Colorado, this issue is particularly pressing. Our rural communities, spread across vast terrains, are often located miles away from the nearest power grids. The high cost of extending these grids is prohibitive, leaving many areas underserved.

The Renewable Energy Solution

Renewable energy is the key to solving these problems. By harnessing local natural resources, we can produce sustainable, affordable energy right where it’s needed. In addition to providing reliable energy, this approach also spurs local economic growth by creating jobs and stimulating investment.

Moreover, renewable energy sources have minimal impact on the environment, aligning with Colorado’s commitment to sustainability. As such, making the switch is not just about energy independence; it’s also about preserving our beautiful state for generations to come.

Making the Switch: Renewable Energy in Rural Areas

For rural homeowners and business owners in Colorado, investing in renewable energy has never been more crucial. The benefits extend beyond immediate energy cost savings. With renewable energy, we can empower our communities, drive economic growth, and protect our environment. Together, we can power our rural communities forward.

Here at the Colorado Clean Energy Fund, we support Coloradoans in their efforts to transition to clean energy. We use the tools we have as a green bank to break down the financial barriers that inhibit access to clean energy for communities across the state. Explore our products and programs here to see how we can help you.